Esther Medina Hernández
From its origins, Los Reyes Mezontla has been a village of gifted potters. Tradition is sacred and is passed down from generation to generation. As is the knowledge of Coronillas, the reddish black clay under the topsoil of the nearby hill. As well as the iron oxides found within the caves of San Lucas.
Many artisans within the community make pots, tubs, and very utilitarian pieces, but Esther has distinguished herself by her creation of her biznaga pots- modeled after the native barrel cactus.
Ester’s work depends on the dedication of her entire family. To prepare the clay, it is ground into a fine powder, and blended to desired proportions. Next it is applied to an apaxtle tub where impurities float to the top and can be removed; repeating several times. It is then mixed with the previously prepared powdered clay, and kneaded until ready for use.
Using a mold, the walls of the pot are formed and made uniform with a gourd, burnished with a soft cloth. Some pieces- pots, jugs, and mortars- receive a final coat of white earthen pigment, and then are polished with onyx, a glass-like stone. Large pots are given a lujo finish, and then all pieces are fired over an open flame with broken pottery and wood.